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Mercedes responds to Hamilton-Russell Qatar collision

Mercedes' race got off to the worst possible start when Lewis Hamilton and George Russell collided on the opening lap.

Hamilton Russell crash Qatar
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes has reflected on the lap one collision that occurred between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the Qatar Grand Prix.

At the opening corner of the race, Hamilton attempted to move around the outside of team-mate Russell for the lead being equipped with the Soft compound tyres and had more grip available compared to the Mediums of Russell.

However, the duo got too close and Hamilton was sent out of the race while Russell was demoted to the rear of the field.

“It’s the worst possible stars and the worst possible thing that can happen for a race team, to see your two cars collide,” said the team's Motorsport Communications Director Bradley Lord, who is carrying out part of Toto Wolff's role in Lusail.

“Lap one, with George at the back and Lewis in the gravel things didn't look brilliant at all.”

Russell recovered to fourth race at the chequered flag managing to outscore Ferrari who fielded just once car in the race.

“To turn that around and end up with George fourth and outscoring Ferrari was not something we could have hoped for once we were one lap into the race,” Lord added.

“What might have been is clear to see. We were right on the pace of the McLarens. Probably not in striking distance of Max, but there's a double podium that could have been today and ‘maybes’ don't really count in this sport.

“So we'll take what we've got and be happy with that. But it could have been so much more.”

Mercedes discussions

Speaking after the race, Hamilton took responsibility for the collision with Russell.

According to Mercedes, the team will now enter discussions to ensure that a similar situation won't arise in the future.

“We discussed it in the morning,” Lord added, referring to the differing starting tyres. “So it was a scenario we've been through and obviously the different start tyre performance and things like that.

“And then I think in the moment, they just all ran out of space. George obviously had nowhere to go and Lewis is trying to take his line and we saw what happened.

“Unfortunately, these things can happen. And you can't programme everything, even with a discussion beforehand.

“But we'll talk about it afterwards as we do and go through it and learn what we can to hopefully never have it happen again.”

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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